Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Type A H5N1 subtype is a viral zoonotic disease that has infected and killed birds and humans in SE Asia, Africa and Europe since late 2003. In 2006, a total of 47 countries reported HPAI outbreaks: 24 in Europe, 15 in Asia and 8 in Africa. From November 2003 to July 25, 2007 there have been a total of 319 confirmed cases in humans resulting in 192 deaths (60.2 percent mortality rate). National governments and international agencies are intensively studying measures to control disease spread, and among these, a restructuring of the poultry industry in a way, which threatens livelihoods of smallholder poultry producers. Unsubstantiated and reactive governmental measures against this disease can prove detrimental to the contribution of poultry farming to family livelihoods and national food security, be it either directly through loss of income-generating poultry outputs or indirectly through disincentives against traditional backyard farming, and in favour of intensive commercial production systems. These livestock policy decisions are framed under the assumption that commercially-oriented, mechanized, intensive farming with high stocking densities, high turnover and high investments are more biosecure, yet this has not been fully supported scientifically. Inclusive evidence-based policies to combat avian influenza need to consider these socioeconomic issues to promote diversity, avoid disruptions, and soften social transitions. This report aims to briefly review Viet Nam's poultry sectors and comment on governmental policy approaches in response to HPAI outbreaks. Additionally, it elaborates further on the challenges and opportunities now faced by smallholding poultry producers, particularly after the HPAI crisis and policy implementations.
PPLPI, FAO, Rome, Italy, 14 pp.